SALTWATER HEALS

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They say saltwater heals, whether in the form of tears, sweat, or the sea.

It’s starting to become a tradition, a beach escape in March.

Escape is not being used lightly since it was technically an escape. There was no Wi-fi, nor phone signal and nobody heard anything from me for two days.

I began composing this at two in the morning. Apart from the sound of waves kissing the shore and the crickets chirping away, the world is quiet. My mind is quiet as well, an anomaly, but definitely a welcome change. In the quiet of the night, I let it all come, the truths I have been ignoring and forgetting amidst the vicissitudes of daily life.

Your superbrain is killing you, superbrain. 

Overthinking has been taking out the joy in everything lately. Overanalyzing and overplanning every task to ensure efficiency, assuming what another person is thinking instead of asking him/her directly, and diving straight into the worst case scenarios (in the guise of preparation in case things go wrong) has been incredibly draining. Tonight I am reminded of the fact that we need to live in the present, in the actual world, for this is how we determine what could be.

It’s okay not to know everything.

The beauty of Schrodinger’s cat. What is meant for us will always come and what is withheld from us is oftentimes for our own protection, and this includes information. Similar to the way spoilers work in movies and novels, life would be incredibly boring and pointless if everything is made known to us prematurely just because we wanted to know.

Communication isn’t always the key to a good relationship

Because sometimes, letting go is. I have always been the type to talk it out, but as life went on and my circle widened, I have come to meet people who don’t really prefer to discuss conflicts and its possible resolution. I made the mistake of pushing for the talking solution with a dear friend last February when we had a minor disagreement and it only made the conflict worse. What could’ve been resolved in a day (if only I had let it go) ended up lasting for a week and a half, and that week and a half could’ve been filled with happy memories. I did realize eventually that letting go is the only solution, and that if we are truly secure in our relationships and we know the heart of the other person, it’s okay to leave things unsaid.

Mental health breaks are a privilege

I realized this when I informed my mother of this trip. She wished me safety and that I get the equilibrium I am seeking. But I ended up thinking about her life which probably became overwhelming multiple times, being a single parent and all, when I was a child. She never once took a “mental health break”. Falling apart is a privilege. If you can afford to be broken down by difficulties, because it’s not a life or death situation, or there’s no child that will go hungry, or you can afford to go soul-searching, you are still better off than a large number of people.

Tomorrow I go on a boat ride and a snorkel trip with two of my best friends. Looking forward to being reinvigorated by nature so come Monday, I can face the world anew.

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LOBO BATANGAS 2017

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The second weekend of March was spent island hopping in Lobo, Batangas. One of my good friends from work grew up in the city and she kindly let me, and two other friends, explore the virgin beaches of her hometown. I’ll never forget the various shades of blue that the ocean had, the mountains that grow nothing but coconut trees, the limestone cliffs and boulders, and the fresh sea breeze that carried away all of the tension built up from staying in the city for far too long.

It was also a trip of many firsts. We slept on a tent by the beach the first night and caught the sunrise. We visited a mangrove forest and climbed up a tree house and also jumped into open ocean from a boulder for the very first time. It was trip that solidified friendships and built trust and openness.

Areas visited are:

  • Malagundi Point – Beach is made up of medium to large pebbles. Two flip flops died in this beach.
  • Simbahang Bato – Only accessible by boat. Beaches are lined with Limestone cliffs and rock formations that obviously used to be part of the seafloor centuries ago. The beach is a mixture of pebbles, broken corals, and sand.
  • Malabrigo Lighthouse – Visited for the sole purpose of exploring the lighthouse. The lighthouse used to be an outpost for Japanese soldiers during the second world war. It is said that the decapitated heads of murdered prisoners were thrown down the wells (now sealed) and the bodies off the cliff. Also, you have to climb 100 steps to get to the lighthouse.
  • Kastilyo – A shallow area full of large black boulders. This is where the mangrove rivers meet the ocean.

Below is a music video I made for the trip. The music used is CRED1X’s “Can’t Find You”. Footage was shot using the SJCAM SJ4000 and Oppo F1S+.

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Gotta say, the SJCam is made for videos but definitely not for photos.

Misadventures and a Wedding: Tagaytay 2016

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Last October 8, 2016 I had the privilege of witnessing (and documenting) my boss/adoptive older sister marry her bestfriend in Tagaytay, surrounded by the people they love.

Their love isn’t a firework, there was no spark nor immediate chemical reaction that changed their lives in a snap. Their love is like a photo album that is built from each individual photograph of moments they lived and shared. Eventually the photographs changed its nature, and the love it contains demanded to be declared eternal.

The ceremony was a brilliant testament of God’s faithfulness, from the preparation up to its conclusion. I learned that those Mayad Studios SDE videos show only 0.008% of how weddings really go, and that there are a lot of things that can go wrong, but you really do have a choice in what you let ruin your day. A lot of preparation goes into weddings, it turns out, and a lot of money too. These things are definitely for full grown adults only.

However, I also learned that despite all the confusion at present, and all the confusion that is yet to come, indeed some of the best days of our lives have yet to come to pass.

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Of course, Shiela and I were able to squeeze in a few misadventures before and after the ceremony. It includes, but not limited to, walking along the dark Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway with our heavy packs in the middle of the night, sharing Bulalo and a decrepit bed-and-breakfast room, meeting a monkey, and killing time (and money) at the Hippiest cafe we’ve been to so far.

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Images taken using a Nikon D200, and an Oppo F1S+

Three days in Kalinga

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I had the privilege of attending the 29th Cordillera Day in Guinaang, Pasil in Kalinga last  April 2013. Kalinga is better known as the home of the last mambabatok tattoo artist Fang Od. However, I did not visit Kalinga to meet Fang Od (also, she lives in Buscalan, another town) but to spend three days learning about the plight and situation of Indigenous Peoples all over the world.

We lived in tents for three days, met activists and advocates from all over the world, and listened to sessions discussing the continued exclusion of Indigenous concerns in decision-making processes, how mining debilitates indigenous communities to their very core, and how collective action and awareness can effect change. The experience was a testament in the power of international solidarity and cooperation.

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I will be back soon, this time to meet Fang Od, and get permanently marked with a piece of the Filipino culture.

Taken using the Nikon E8400